Social networking from the perspective of a language professional, part 2 Marketing Your Language Services translation jobs
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Social networking from the perspective of a language professional, part 2


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See also: Part 1


How to use social networking to promote your brand: the Facebook example

ClientSide News Magazine pictureBesides enabling interaction, conversation and sharing with people and peers, social networks can also serve as advertising platforms. Social media, however, only represent approximately 8% of advertising today. This low figure can be explained by the fact that they are relatively new - i.e. they are still being figured out - and by the current absence of a business model on how to use them. However, most savvy marketers have understood that the value of social media and networks is that of creating interactions, and not that of advertising. Moreover, exposing your brand on Facebook or other social networks is not without risk. Just think about what happened to Domino’s Pizza: with a number of Facebook fans totaling almost 300,000 worldwide, Domino’s had built a strong, positive presence on Facebook when a couple of Domino’s employees posted a video on YouTube where they appear doing gross things to the food that supposedly will be served to customers. The video quickly dispersed reaching a great portion of the internet community. The two employees were fired, but not before causing extensive damage to Domino’s brand name.

Advertising on Facebook

Today we see all categories/types of online advertisers on Facebook, ranging from large global companies to small local businesses. Creating an online ad can cost as little as 1$ a day. The step-by-step online guide one can find on Facebook makes it extremely easy to create an ad (or use an existing one) as well as build a campaign, target it to a relevant audience, and modify it later if necessary. The owner of the online ad is charged only when someone clicks on the ad. This approach is based on the rules of “traditional” online advertising.

If you decide to run a campaign on Facebook, here are a few tips: First, always create a Facebook profile page for your company and make sure your ad links back to your Facebook profile page, not your corporate site. This will make your ad less “ad” and more “social”. Furthermore, use the same informal language of the community. Also, having a visual element, be it a video or a picture, always helps attract attention. And don’t forget to network with other networks. If you have a profile on Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc., make sure you cross reference them for more traffic. Finally, remember to check out the set of rules and best practices on how to advertise that have been recently established by IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). Their site also contains useful information on how to measure the effectiveness of an online campaign.

The New York Times is one of the first newspapers that has successfully built a presence on Facebook by means of advertising. The newspaper multiplied its fan base fourfold on its Facebook page by placing an ad, on the front page of Facebook, with a video of President Obama and an invitation for comments. I was not able to find many more examples of successful “traditional” advertising on Facebook. Plus, I have still not seen any advertising on translation either. From what I have seen, placing an ad on Facebook is not the best way to go for a language service professional. Let’s remember that Facebook demographics skews towards the younger population, and is extremely “generic”. It does not make the ideal advertising platform to advertise specialized professional services. However, I do think that Facebook offers an interesting opportunity for translators and language professionals, not through advertising, but through “inspiring.”

“Inspiring” on Facebook

I believe that some companies have truly managed to spread their name and brand values by inspiring Facebook users; that is, by making them proud of sharing the company’s messages as if they were their own. The best way to promote a brand on social networks is to follow their rules: be social. How do you do that? You can create a Facebook profile for your company like you would do for a person. You can start building a friends and fans network in order to talk, listen and interact with the online community. Your voice can be diffused through Facebook friends’ networks and newsfeeds. Your page can contain articles and links of interest about your industry sector. You can direct customers to your page by adding the “Find us on Facebook” badge.

I believe that some companies have truly managed to spread their name and brand values by inspiring Facebook users; that is, by making them proud of sharing the company’s messages as if they were their own. The best way to promote a brand on social networks is to follow their rules: be social. How do you do that? You can create a Facebook profile for your company like you would do for a person. You can start building a friends and fans network in order to talk, listen and interact with the online community. Your voice can be diffused through Facebook friends’ networks and newsfeeds. Your page can contain articles and links of interest about your industry sector. You can direct customers to your page by adding the “Find us on Facebook” badge.

You can also create a Facebook group focused on a relevant theme and bulk invite all your friends to join — inside and outside Facebook. A group, like a Facebook page, allows you to host a discussion, message all the members, and post and exchange videos, pictures and articles. Facebook hosts several groups that are not related to any business in particular, but are useful for connecting professionals and providing a good platform for job postings and discussions. One particular group I like is the group “Leave Translation to Translators” (8342 members). Its members exchange frequent information, job offers and requests in a lively manner. Groups appear better suited than Facebook pages for small companies that want to attract quick attention and entertain conversations. In my opinion, corporate Facebook pages especially benefit the big, established brands and help them build a long-term relationships with readers and clients.

What is required to make it work? It all depends on your ability to start an interesting conversation, as well as on your ability to get your audience involved and willing to endorse your opinions and share them with others. This is not easy and it requires time, dedication and skills. Nevertheless, there are several examples of brands that have made an outstanding job gathering advocates on Facebook, including a couple examples from the sport arena. Nike, for instance, created Ballers Network on Facebook. This application links basketball players and fans with games, leagues and other players. Adidas also developed a Facebook application, called Celebrate Originality, where Adidas users and fans can share writing, photos, ringtones, and artwork.

I checked for Facebook pages or groups for three main language services companies. Unfortunately, I did not find anything particularly interesting. L-3 Communications has 3 groups on Facebook, but none of them are related to language/translation. Lionbridge Technologies has 1 group with 64 members, containing only a few old posts, with no identified theme. The Bigword Group has a profile page with basic information on the company and 12 fans. SDL International does not have any page or group.

Transperfect Translations does not have its own page, but it sponsors - with other companies - a Facebook group called Translation Live Workspace, a portal where you can access translators in more than 150 languages. This group appears to be active and expanding. Of course there are plenty of companies that do have their own page or group on Facebook. I was able to locate a long list of them searching under “language service”. They have pages with varying degree of quality, traffic and fans or members. I did not see very many companies that displayed much information other than their business contact details and a basic description of their activity. Moreover, many of the ones I saw had very infrequent postings or appeared to be abandoned.

My personal take from this analysis is that Facebook offers high potential for language service companies, although this potential, it seems, has not been exploited so far. Let’s go back to the Nike and Adidas examples. These companies’ success stories did not rely on a Nike or Adidas corporate page. Both companies selected one aspect of their brand universe appealing to their customers, created a space on Facebook and attracted thousands of Facebook fans to it. If you think about it, language service providers are all about language, communicating, words and speech: things and activities that are extremely appealing and interesting to virtually everyone. You have a lot of themes to choose from, whether you wish to converse with your peers or with anyone for that matter. If you decide to create your page or group - I personally prefer the group option as it appears more adapted to the language sector - why not build it around a language-related theme “sponsored” by you? An interesting, relevant or funny fact or video is easier to disperse than a company profile. And, you can intelligently but subtly integrate some business information in the process. For instance, remember to provide links to your corporate website and to show your logo, links to Twitter or other social networks. Last but not least, keep your page alive. Make sure you have something new to post at least once a month - especially during the page “launch” phase - and always use the language of your readers.


See also: Part 1


Published - February 2010




ClientSide News Magazine - www.clientsidenews.com








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